The Magic Porridge pot

Cue Card



Cavendish, Marshall.  Tales from Around the World.  Exeter Books, 1987.


Ethnic Origin:  Central Europe (Grimms Fairy Tale)


Running Time:  Approximately 6 minutes


Power Center(s): 


Ø  Meeting the woman who gave Maisie the pot. 

Feelings:  At first a little weary that the old witch is bad, then a sense of relief when she proves to be safe and gives the hungry girl a magic pot.


Ø  Maisie and her mother trying the magic words on the pot. 

Feelings:  Surprise and then a delighted thrill when the pot boils a sweet porridge.


Ø  The pot won’t stop boiling and fills up the whole town.

Feelings:  An anxiety or worry that the pot will never stop boiling.


Ø  Maisie stops the pot from boiling.

Feelings:  Relief that someone has come to the rescue of the town.  The feeling one gets when they burp after a full meal.




Ø  Maisie

Ø  Mother

Ø  Old Witch




1.      Introduction:  A little background on Maisie and her poor mother.

2.      Maisie going to pick blueberries and there being none, her crying and the witch coming along to ask Maisie to care for the witch’s magic pot.

3.      Maisie and her mother trying the pot for the first time and eating well.

4.      Maisie’s mother starting the pot to boil, eating her fill and then not being able to stop the pot from boiling.  Then the porridge spills out into the town and into everyone’s houses.

5.      Maisie eating her way to her house to stop the pot from boiling.

6.      The townspeople eating porridge all winter.



Maisie is a poor little girl who lives with her mother in a cottage.  One day she goes out to pick the blueberries they normally eat, but there are none left on the bush.  Maisie is worried when an old witch shows up and asks Maisie to look after a magic pot for her since she’s an old woman she can’t carry much luggage.  The old witch gives her the words to make the magic pot cook porridge and stop cooking when everyone has had their fill.  Maisie agrees and takes the pot home to her mother.  They eat themselves full and go to bed.  The next day Maisie goes to play and her mother starts the pot to cooking, she eats her fill and tries to get the pot to stop but cannot remember the words that make the pot stop cooking.  The whole town fills up with porridge, Maisie hears the commotion and gets home to tell the pot to stop cooking, but not before everyone’s house is full to the brim with porridge.  The town isn’t so upset though because they have enough food for winter now.


Rhymes/Special Phrases/ “Flavor”:

Commands to start and stop the pot from cooking.

“Cook-pot-cook”  “Stop-pot-stop”


Audience:  Preschool Children

At this age children do not have a very long attention span.  They are constantly moving, trying new things and absorbing in life like a sponge.  They need a short, strong, fast story that is going to hit them and hit them hard.  They need short, effective descriptions that give just enough information to tweak their active imaginations.  But not so much to bore them.

The Magic Porridge Pot is a short little humorous story that plays into preschoolers’ developing sympathetic emotions.  They are learning how to feel the sadness of the little girl with no berries to bring home and the excitement of bringing home a magic pot that erases all their troubles.  They can verbalize their anxiety over the pot spilling over with words they already know like ‘uh-oh’ and ‘oopsie’.  It is a story that preschoolers can relate to as they “gain [a] sense of the roles and institutions of society.”—Erik Erikson.




1.  Manheim, Ralph.  Grimms Tales for Young and Old:  The Complete Stories.  Doubleday & Co.: Garden City, 1977.


2.  Rockwell, Anne.  The Three Bears & 15 other stories.  Thomas Y. Crowell Co.:  New York, 1975.


3.  de Paola, Tomie.  Strega Nona.  Prentice Hall: New York, 1975.


Comparison of Version and Variants:


Versions #1 and #2 just had the most basic version of the story.  For example, the little girl had no name, the witch was not described and there was no embellishment at all. It was a very simple sort of naked story.


Variant #3 was told with an Italian twist to it and had a different set of characters.  There was a young man named who worked with Strega Nona (Grandma Witch).  She had the magic pot, which produced pasta, and she told the young man (Big Anthony) not to touch it because only she knew the magic words.  He didn’t listen and she had to come stop the pot from cooking pasta.  Then Anthony had to eat all the spaghetti in her house. 

This was a great story but it was too long to tell in seven minutes.  I like the Italian flavor and bright clothes red clothes that this story seems to wear J.